MA (Community Development)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

The aim of this programme is to impart specialist knowledge of the practical, organisational, managerial, and developmental skills that you need in order to practice effective community work; and to increase your analytical and evaluative understandings of the various contexts within which community development practice takes place.  The overall objective is to educate and train you to become an effective development worker, who, with a professional approach, can make a direct and valuable contribution to affecting change at community level.

The Programme offers considerable one-to-one academic contact and support between students and staff, while the breadth and depth of the curriculum provides a unique educational experience.  You also have an opportunity to acquire work experience of a minimum four months with a community based development agency in areas of work that match your interests and career plans. 

A distinctive aspect of the MA in Community Development is that we offer joint teaching and learning opportunities with the three other postgraduate Programmes within the School (e.g. MA in Family Support, MA in Social Work and MA in Gender, Globalisation and Human Rights), which enables students to acquire a broad perspective on other approaches and knowledge relevant to community development work.  The Programme is strongly connected to the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (see which is a leading, internationally distinguished, research and policy institute, while staff members are involved in a range of research clusters within the School.  Other Staff throughout the School play a key role in teaching and supervising research dissertations by students.

Key facts

Entry requirements

At least a Second Class Honours Grade 2 degree in a social science or related discipline or equivalent. Development work experience is not a requirement for entry into the Programme, although accumulated work experience will be taken into account.

Additional requirements

Garda Vetting/Police Clearance is required for this programme.

Duration: 2 years, full-time

Next start date: This programme is currently under review.

ECTS weighting: 120

Average intake: 14

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

The programme combines taught modules, practical work placement experience, and a minor dissertation. Students are provided in-depth understanding of the working principles, practices, contexts and methods that exist within the professional community work field. Modules included on the programme are Community Development Theory and Practice; Social Policy; Understanding Communities; Gender, Development and Human Rights; Sustainable Development in Ireland; Local Government.

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who teaches this course?

  • Chris Curtin, MA (Galway), PhD (Hull)
  • Anne Byrne, MA (Galway), PhD (Limerick)
  • Michelle Millar, MA (Limerick), PhD (Limerick)
  • Liam Coen, MA (Limerick)
  • Ciara Bradley MA (Galway)
  • Brian McGrath, MA (Galway), PhD (Aberdeen)

Requirements and assessment

Participants will be assessed throughout the programme by a combination of project assignments, case study reports, seminar presentations, thesis research, and written examinations.

Find out more

Dr Brian McGrath
School of Politicial Science & Sociology
T +353 91 493 405 

PAC code


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €4,745 p.a. 2015/16 (inclusive of Levy)
 - Tuition: €4,521 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Graduate profile

Sinead Collopy

Community Development Officer, HSE

"Since graduating from the MA Community Development in NUI Galway, I have spent the past six years putting into action the skills I learned on the course. Working in the area of community health and social care for the HSE, I connect with a variety of communities ( youth, elderly, immigrant ) on a daily basis in order to assess their diverse and complex set of needs and put in place innovative initiatives in order to meet those needs. It is a challenging yet extremely rewarding role in which the M.A Community Development course has been an essential foundation on which to build my career.”